“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (Matthew 5:8)
I am the self-appointed ‘apostle’ of love – whenever I open my mouth or write I invariably talk about love – and, probably for this very reason, I find myself constantly tested and confronted in that area. But again, I believe it is God’s will that, above everything else, we all ought to grow in love. Growing up spiritually means growing up in love. In 1 Corinthians 13:11, right in the middle of his dissertation on love, the Apostle Paul makes the most profound statement in the Bible about spiritual growth:
“When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
In other words, the apostle relates spiritual maturity to walking in love. Our walk with Christ is a walk in love.
But I was talking about my being sorely tested in the area of love…. During the annual CTMI leaders’ conference that was held in Nairobi last year, Brother Miki was talking to church leaders on relationships and I heard him say: “I have purposed in my heart to never hold anything against my wife, no matter what she does against me.”
Well, that sunk in. I remember thinking, ‘I wish I was that man. I wish I could do that.’ Not that I was in a war with my wife, but there were some brethren I was holding things against in my heart. Inconsequential things, my flesh would always argue, and thus soothe my conscience. But that morning, on hearing Miki say that, I realized the enormity of what was happening to me, and I instantly knew I had to get free from that condition.
I just don’t know how it happened. I have heard many preachers giving guidelines and principles on how to succeed in this and that area spiritually, but in my experience – and in all humility – I must say that that is simply an expression of human vanity. I don’t believe in those theories any more, nor would I listen to them. All I know is that somehow the grace of God ALONE is involved in setting us free from the works of darkness and from our flesh.
But I keep digressing…. In my particular case, let me say that I had that deep yearning in me to be set free from that situation; and in my desperation I threw out a prayer to God from the depths of my heart. I cannot even boast about having any amount of faith when I made that prayer (I was feeling thoroughly rotten) but one thing I do remember was that I was desperate enough, and I knew I had to have that miracle in my heart.
Well, lo and behold, I can’t remember exactly when it occurred, but one day I woke up, and everything had changed. The minute I opened my eyes, I knew something had changed in me. I felt new, washed. I had become a new creation. It was so real I could feel it almost physically. All the old feelings of animosity were gone. I lay there in bed wondering how I could ever have carried any ill feelings against my brothers…how a mature, seasoned Christian like me could have allowed such a condition into my heart.
I realized then that God had answered my prayer.
The first thing I did was to pick up my phone and call each one of the two brothers. I shared my heart with them, and spoke to them words of peace. I did not care then whether they would understand me, but in my heart the matter was already settled. Since then, I have made it a regular habit to call and talk to them on the phone. I do not do it out of a sense of duty, but it is out of the deep love that God has put in my heart. My brothers have felt my love and lo and behold, they reciprocated. We are now in the deepest love affair known to man. Just when I thought they did not need my love, I came to realize how deeply they were yearning for it. How marvellous and powerful the love of God can be once we allow it into our hearts!
But it is all a work of grace. It is of God, and God alone. The Apostle Paul repeats the phrase over and over in Ephesians chapter 1: “to the praise of the glory of His grace”. It is by God’s grace alone that we can walk a victorious Christian life. When we allow that grace into our hearts, nothing can stand in our way.
I realize with utter joy that it is not only possible to walk in spiritual victory (read love) in every circumstance; but also that this is our true calling in Christ Jesus.
Truly, blessed are the pure in heart. They are a happy lot indeed.